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Ten Minutes with: Tucker Spofford

Meet Tucker Spofford, an Adventurer, a Biker, a Camper… and a future Zero gravity designer?

What are the five words that people would use to describe you?

A jack of all trades.

When did you know that you wanted to be an interaction designer?

I didn’t really know until I came to Artefact. I had gone through my whole childhood sort of knowing that I wanted to be a “design engineer.” I went to school for industrial design. But then I found UX, a discipline that I felt would open more possibilities to design, test and build things myself.

What is in your notebook?

It’s a mess. Half thoughts, sketches of work stuff, plans for my house, some diagrams about how to assemble some Arduino/raspberry pi components to build my next side project, some plans to build a camping box for my overlanding rig. A little bit of everything.

What is the thing (product, service, etc.) that you would die to design? Why?

Space X’s Mars ship interface. Space travel and Mars colonization are our generation’s Apollo. Getting to work on a challenging problem like designing an interface that works well through the four distinct phases of flight: takeoff, orbital mechanics, interplanetary travel, landing; balancing ease of use with surfacing mission critical information, keeping it accessible in an emergency – this is one complex challenge. One I would love to solve.

It would also be fascinating to work on the for In Flight Entertainment (IFE) system for space travel. Right now, astronauts bring their tablets or use notebooks, but it seems the future will call for more of that to be connected to the ships internal network allowing instant access to mission critical information, communications systems and entertainment for long journeys.

Also zero gravity touch screens.

What advice would you give to your 10 year old self?

Don’t stop drawing during class no matter what anyone says, you’ll regret not being able to draw later in life. Invest in Apple stock.

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

I want to be building something that matters in the long run. I also want to be working from “home” around the globe in an adventure vehicle, off the grid in Alaska, or following the F1 grid around the world from race to race. In the lap of luxury, after I sell out.

What would people never guess about you?

I’ve never lived in any city longer than six years.

What is your favorite Artefact project and why?

BrakePack. It was a chance to actually go build something I would use, something that can help people. We made it, it works, it’s a real thing.

What are you afraid of?

The overwhelming size and inevitable heat death of the universe. It’s an irrational fear, but it makes you question why you should care about doing anything at all.

Where do you go/what do you do for inspiration?

Adventure camping a.k.a. overlanding. Pack the 4×4 full of gear, drive out into the wilderness and explore new places. Washington has amazing public land and forest service roads to explore and conquer. Getting out of town far enough to really see the stars is an experience everyone should have regularly. Although it can lead to a lot of anxiety and definitely feeds the fear I talked about in the previous question.